Abundant wildlife, unusual kiwi and white heron (Kotuku), dolphins and a variety of unique native alpine flora, secure colonies, the rarest penguins of the world, this 600 kilometer long region (no wider than 70 Kms at any point) serves as a time capsule, revealing what our country might have looked like before humans arrived some 1000 years ago.
With towering mountains, vast podocarp forests, temperate coastal forests, clear, clean rivers and lakes, accessible glaciers, diverse wetlands, wild beaches and long fascinating caves, the West Coast is a wonderland of natural features just waiting to be explored.
|Population||:||32,300 June 2008 estimate.|
|Currency||:||New Zealand dollar (NZ$).|
|Geographic Coordination||:||42.6°S 171.4°E.|
Climate and Geography
New Zealand weather is regarded as "temperate oceanic" and the official description of the West Coast climate is Maritime Temperate.
There are different ways for you to explore this stunning region. From rental vehicles to passenger trains and on-demand taxi services. Travelling here is so much more than getting from A to B.
Shopping and Entertainment
The West Coast is a haven for artisans who gain inspiration from the landscape and enjoy the relaxed lifestyle that exists here. An extensive range of galleries and craft shops showcase locally made pieces. As well as the traditional mediums used in arts and crafts, the West Coast is home to some unique New Zealand resources.
Jade (Pounamu or Greenstone, as it is also known) has its only significant source on the South Island's West Coast. Treasured by the Maori for its incredible strength and beauty, it plays a significant part in Maori culture as a much sought after and sacred resource. Today it is carved into magnificent sculptures and jewellery pieces, which are exhibited in galleries throughout the region.
The geological forces that combined to create Jade deposits also produced another unique gemstone - Ruby Rock. Found nowhere else in the world, beautiful jewellery pieces are created from this stone.